Friday, November 16, 2018

The Tree For Boston

 Since 1971, the province of Nova Scotia has shipped a Christmas tree to the City of Boston as a "thank you" for that city's help in the aftermath of the Halifax Explosion on December 6, 1917.

For the first time, the tree comes from Cumberland County -- from a backyard in Oxford, no less. What a great day we had to celebrate what this coniferous gift represents.
Since I moved to Nova Scotia twelve years ago, I've only seen this whole "tree for Boston" rigmarole on the television; experiencing it in person is a completely different experience, especially since I've been reading about the Halifax Explosion for the last couple of years (last December marked the 100th anniversary).

Imagine -- the Halifax Explosion is not a HUGE part of Canada's history. This was a major event for our eastern port city; the stories are of both devastation and death, and courage and heroism. Every child in this country should know this story. Outside of a "heritage minute" commercial on the television, and Hugh McLellan's 1941 novel, Barometer Rising, that I read in Grade Nine (and didn't leave a last impression on me vis-a-vis the explosion, I didn't know anything about this event. Thankfully, now there are many well-written books of fiction and non-fiction that we can sink our teeth into -- both adults and children -- stories that really bring to life the Halifax Explosion, and what happened afterwards (I mean, honestly -- a big snowstorm hit the day after half the city was levelled by an ammunitions ship exploding in the harbour).

Right off the top of my head, I can recommend five books:

Non-fiction: "The Great Halifax Explosion", by John U. Bacon (William Morrow)

Fiction: "The Blue Tattoo", by Steven Laffoley (Pottersfield Press); and "Tides of Honour", by Genevieve Graham (Simon Schuster) *Nova Scotia authors

Children's: "Explosion Newsie", by Jaqueline Halsey, (Formac) and "The Little Tree by the Sea", by John DeMont and Belle DeMont (MacIntyre Purcell). *Nova Scotia authors

For more, simply put "books about the Halifax Explosion" into your search bar and you'll find lots to choose from.

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